Mickey cell phone
Credit: Disney

Screen Time at Disney World and When to Disconnect from your Phone

Let’s be honest, phone addiction is a real thing. We attempt to disconnect. We desire to take a break from our hand-held computers, but it’s not always that simple. Vacation seems like a pretty good opportunity to put the phone down or even go off the grid, right? However, a vacation to Walt Disney World doesn’t make it super easy to completely disconnect from our phones and tablets.

Family with phone

Credit: Disney

First, our phones are tools we need for everyday tasks. While at a Disney Park, these tasks include checking the wait time for Jungle Cruise or Slinky Dog Dash, booking a Lightning Lane reservation for Ratatouille Adventure via Genie+, ordering quick service meals (mobile ordering sure saves a lot of time), or booking a dining reservation.

Even beyond using the My Disney Experience app, we grab our phones to take photos and videos; capturing memories with friends and family to revisit for years to come. We might open the weather app to see if those dark clouds in the distance are going to change our plans.

There are many interactive activities within the Walt Disney parks where you’ll need your phone. For example, if you’re a fan of Star Wars, you know that with the Play Disney Parks mobile app you can utilize a Datapad to complete missions as you explore Galaxy’s Edge.

Datapad Galaxy's Edge

Credit: Amanda Kepshire

All of these actions are necessary and justified. But have you noticed how many people are glued to their phones and tablets while in a Disney Park? This could be texting friends or family who aren’t with you, checking social media to see how many likes your latest photo has, or even checking your work email to see what kind of fire drills might be going on while you’re away.

While how much you utilize your phone while on your Disney vacation is ultimately up to you, here are a few things to consider when evaluating screen time at Disney World and when to disconnect from your phone.

Will you really watch that vertical video of the fireworks show again?

We’ve likely all been in this position. You’ve been camped out for a solid hour, waiting for the show to begin, only to have your view totally blocked by someone in front of you holding up their phone, or even worse, a big tablet to record the entire fireworks display.

Now I’m not talking about holding up your phone to snap a quick picture to set as your new phone background. Or capture a quick 5-10 second video to save or share on Instagram. I’m talking about recording the entire show. First of all, are you (the royal “you”) really going to go back and re-watch the recording? Second, here’s something to consider – you have spent so much money to travel to Walt Disney World and experience all of the magic. Do you want to experience it with your own eyes, or through your phone screen? Just food for thought.

If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to watch Magic Kingdom‘s beloved Happily Ever After Firework Show, or a show from another Park, past or present – they’re all on YouTube!

So before you hold up your phone or tablet to record an entire fireworks display, consider what the best is way for you to experience it, as well as how it may impact the experience of others around you.

Enjoy Disney Parks rides first-hand and in the moment

On my last trip to Disney World, I was riding Pirates of the Caribbean with my family and a man in the front row held up his phone and took video of the entire ride for his Instagram story.

Aside from being incredibly distracting for the rest of the guests in the boat, Magic Kingdom was pretty crowded that day, and wait times were definitely not low.


Credit: Disney Tips

Like the fireworks on YouTube, did you know you can also find well-done videos of each ride? It’s actually pretty cool. You can get your Disney fix while you’re waiting for your next trip without sacrificing your experience in the moment by capturing it yourself.

Social Media: Share or Disconnect?

Everyone has their own opinion about social media, as well as how much or little they want to be involved with it. Social media is a place to share life’s moments. It’s place where people post their highlights, and that includes vacations. Walt Disney World is an incredibly exciting and fun place to be, so it’s natural to want to share photos on any given platform.

As mentioned before, a Disney vacation is not cheap, that’s certainly not a secret. Your time is both precious and valuable while you’re exploring each Park. You are likely with loved ones, whether friends or family, enjoying time together and making memories.

Family Photo with Ariel

Credit: Amanda Kepshire

While there is nothing wrong with keeping up with social media while you’re on your trip, consider taking time each day to disconnect from your phone and be present where you are and with who you’re with. The Disney Parks are so full of detail. There is so much to experience and participate in, you don’t want to miss magical moments that you won’t be able to get back later.

Share a meal together without distractions

Whether you have made an advanced dining reservation at a restaurant in Disneys Animal Kingdom, are eating at a Disney Resort on a rest day, or placed a mobile order to pick up and eat while you wait for the fireworks to begin – spend time with those you are with. So consider putting your phone away.

Instead, be present. Take silly photos, talk about your favorite moments of the day, or what you are planning to do next. Enjoy the magical moments together while you take a break from the “real world” to really enjoy everything Walt Disney World has to offer with those you love. You might find that it heightens your Disney experience.


Credit: Disney

Will you be disconnecting from your phone during your next Disney trip? We hope these tips helped and you have a magical time!

About Amanda Kepshire

Amanda has always had a love for Disney and wishes living in Atlanta didn’t mean being so far from the most magical place on earth. She’s a Disney College Program Alumni (2012) and a former Annual Passholder (living in Florida had its perks), so she’s been to Disney World more times than she could ever count. Amanda enjoys sharing tips with fellow Disney lovers while counting down the days until her next visit!